Michael Haneke‘s latest film Amour (aka Love) is probably the saddest happy movie ever made. It tells the harrowing story of an elderly couple’s long time love for each other and how their bond is tested when one of them falls incredibly ill. Depressing? More than you can imagine. But Haneke’s realism and the unbelievable performances of his leads, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, somehow takes terrible pain and transforms it into an affirmation of life.

Audacious in its attempt to make opposite ends of the emotional spectrum into perfect complements, Amour is a true feat that’s not to be missed. The film won the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and just played AFI Fest presented by Audi. Read more after the jump. Read More »

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At a time when even the most basic films feature once-impossible and now all but invisible digital effects and editing, it’s easy to look past the fact that the power of cinema lies in the simplest things: image and sound, and the way that two or three small elements can be combined to create a complex and very powerful effect.

One of the best moments in the trailer for Michael Haneke‘s new film Amour was a combination of an edit between two simple shots and an action in the latter shot. The edit cuts across time and through memory, and the action — a simple, mundane little thing — turns the construction into a montage that communicates deep, inescapable sadness.

Two clips of Amour are now online, and one highlights that moment. It’s one that should be studied by anyone interested in the construction of a film, because it is a lesson in pure cinematic storytelling delivered in one minute. If someone asked me what movies are, as a medium, I might point towards this clip.  Read More »

Michael Haneke is finally settling on his follow-up to the Palme d’Or winning The White Ribbon. Oddly, the film he’ll make is one he’d planned to make, then discarded in favor of another. The Austrian director had been planning to make Ces Deux, aka These Two, but scuttled the idea in February, deciding instead to make a film about the internet. Cue mild surprise and unease on our part.

But now Mr. Haneke is going back to these two, and he’s got at least two of the actors he’d originally planned to use: Isabelle Huppert, with whom he worked on The Piano Teacher and Time of the Wolf, and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Read More »

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